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September 24, 2017


The General vs. The President

by N@ncy


Why did President Truman say ‘You’re fired”  to 5 star General MacArthur  in 1951?



The General:

  1. MacArthur lost all most of his support to enter presidential race 1952.
  2. He was questioned for 3 days in Washington after his dismissal
  3. as Commander of East Asian forces.
  4. He  spoke roughly 90.000 words almost enough to fill  a novel.
  5. What happened to the adoration he received upon his return to the US?
  6. Not many knew that Truman once called
  7. MacArthur the most dangerous man in America.
  8. Truman saw some Caesarism
  9. ….lurking behind the 5 stars on his general’s cap.


The President:

  1. Truman was not a product of  ‘elite America’.
  2. Truman did start courses toward a law degree and in business college
  3. ..but he never formally graduated or completed a degree.
  4. Truman was wiser than most politicians took him for.
  5. He never stopped learning.
  6. He read four or five newspapers each morning
  7. …so he would remain as well-informed as possible.
  8. I was impressed by his patience and ability to look at problems from a
  9. broad point of view.
  10. Not only what MacArthur’s high-jinks meant to Asia
  11. …but more importantly for Europe struggling to recover from WW II
  12. …struggling to stand up to Stalin’s totalitarian vision of Eastern Europe.



  1. Listening to the tensions and political decisions as a response
  2. to the invasion of North Korea into South Korea sends chills down my spine.
  3. Truman was pragmatic and not prone to erratic statements
  4. (no twitter in those days).
  5. North Korea  was trouble in 1950 and is still trouble in 2017
  6. I knew nothing about the details of the Korean War.
  7. Brands takes the reader from 25 June 1950
  8. …the invasion of South Korea by the North.
  9. …to  May 3 1951 – 21 June 1951
  10. The Senate Armed Forces and Foreign Relations Committees
  11. …began  7 weeks of hearings.
  12. They were investigating President Truman’s  removal of
  13. …MacArthur from his command on 11 April 1951.
  14. Reading this book  is addictive…learning more about Korean War.
  15. Post-Cold War research in Soviet Archives has revealed that the Korean War
  16. was begun by Kim Il-sung with the express permission of Stalin.
  17. #DidNotKnowThat
  18. Three times Truman wanted to fire his chief General in Korea
  19. …but he did not.
  20. In  early 1951 MacArthur crossed a ‘red line’ according to Washington.
  21. Truman’s reaction was disbelief and controlled fury.
  22. I knew nothing about the Korean War.
  23. This book was the best place to start!
  24. #MustRead  5 parts, 68 chapters, 416 pages
  25. #MustListen – audio book is excellent! (15 hrs 22min)


Last Thoughts:

  1. For all the  homage Truman  paid to straight talk…
  2. he also understood the value of silence.
  3. Truman would be a great role-model for the present administration.



Read more from biography, HIstory
7 Comments Post a comment
  1. Sep 24 2017

    I’ve been reading quite a bit of non-fiction, but I simply can’t keep up with your levels of powering through books (although if I read one book at a time instead of the 6 or 7 I’m currently reading, then I may get actual finish one!)

    Is all your political reading ATM helping you to understand the mess we currently seem to be in?


    • Sep 24 2017

      Reading about the great leaders from 1940′ – 1960′ s I cannot help but compare them to the present US administration. All I can do is shake my head in uncomprehension and wonder how in the world did the US sink so low as it is now.
      I used audio books for non-fiction during my walks and while I am doing the ‘daily chores’. (grocery run on the bike, planting 500 flower bulbs today (tulips, daffs, grape hyacinths and crocusses) doing the laundry, making the beds etc. It really is helping me get through some ‘door stop’ sized books.
      Fiction I still read as e book and Astley is most of the time a paperback. Her books are not widely available on E-book. Anxious to start C. McLennan’s ‘Salt’ from UQP!

      Liked by 1 person

  2. Sep 25 2017

    It’s a time in history I know nothing about but given the current tensions perhaps I should. Interesting contrasts between then and now – can’t help but wonder if we’ve reached the stage where we rely on military to keep a barely rational and barely sane US President from becoming overly belligerent. I like idea of using non-fiction on audio – have done that couple of times but not as a matter of course – will try it.


    • Sep 25 2017

      The tables are turned…as you said the military are keeping the president in check.
      In 1951 the president was keeping MacArthur in check. I would recommend other books by H.W. Brands. These would be great for high-school students to prove to them that history has something to tell….and the way H.W. Brands does it….it feels almost like a novel! Starting his book about FDR very soon!
      At first I didn’t think audio books were ‘real reading’ but I have done a complete 180!
      I always have 1 or 2 books going on the IPOD. Great for walks ….with the dog!


  3. Sep 26 2017

    That does sound very interesting. I don’t know much about the Korean War either but my father was called back up to Active Duty in the Air Force for a year during the Korean War, and he was stationed in San Antonio and my mother and I lived there with him for a year. (I was very young and remember nothing.)


    • Sep 27 2017

      While reading the book…..I took my mind back to 1950.
      During the first invasion on Korea June 1950 my mother was expecting me.
      When the newspapers exploded with MacArthur’s dismissal I was 5 months old
      I was great trying to imagine what life was like for my parents back then,….avid followers of the news and with me ‘eavesdropping’ in the womb!
      Thanks for sharing your memories as well…. 🙂



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  1. #NonFicNov 2017 Week 1 | NancyElin

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